How Social Media Has Changed Over the Last Several Years

social media over the years Reading Time: 4 minutes

Social media is important – it’s an indisputable fact regardless of your views on how people choose to use the platforms themselves. The manner in which social media has come to play a role in multiple facets of our lives, including entertainment, work, school, and communication – (obviously) the way we interact with and socialize with other people online – has served to highlight its significance.

Nobody is more aware of the importance of social media than digital marketers. In fact, ignoring the significance of a series of platforms used by 3.8 billion people around the world (a staggering 84% of all internet users in 2020) would be outright foolishness. However, when you’re considering how best to reach those users with your products and services, it’s crucial to keep up with the ways social media and social media marketing have changed. 

This Isn’t the Social Media of 2005 (or Even 2015)

While social media first began with popular blogging sites of the late 1990s, social media, as we know it today, likely began with MySpace and LinkedIn in the early 2000s. These platforms were quickly followed by Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2005, Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010, and a host of other apps and platforms like FourSquare, Yelp, and more in between. While MySpace mostly exists now only in our collective memories, LinkedIn is a perfect example of the point at hand – social media has had nearly twenty years to grow and change, resulting in necessary changes for those who use it.

Once a platform exclusively for resume posting and recruiting, LinkedIn has grown to provide incomparable networking opportunities for those who use it. Even more significant is the remarkable content that has been featured on the site in recent years – and the way brands and individuals utilize the platform has changed accordingly.

Changes in Social Media

Smart digital marketers leverage social media where possible. As a smart digital marketer is an up to date digital marketer, we’ve highlighted some of the most significant ways social media (and a marketer’s approach to the same) has changed within the past several years:

    1. People now spend more time on social media than they do watching TV. The fact that people spend a lot of time on social media isn’t exactly a secret – news broadcasts and marketing gurus alike have been proclaiming social media is the next frontier for advertising for some time now. However, the fact that social media has now taken over TV (by about fifteen minutes per day, according to GlobalWebIndex data) truly speaks to which marketing avenue is more likely to provide the best ROI. TV no longer reaches most populations as efficiently as does social media – Millennials, in particular, are much more likely to use social media than TV on a daily basis (54% to 33%).

  • If Facebook users were a country, it would be the largest country on earth. Let that sink in for a moment – there are significantly more Facebook users than there are people in any one country on the planet. Then, consider the four other major social platforms. We indicated above just how many people are now using social media in 2020, but the extent to which the phenomenon has become a global phenomenon is well worth reiterating. When you’re building a social media marketing strategy for your product or service, it’s more crucial than ever to think big and think globally.

  • Consumption outweighs personal sharing. It’s what every digital marketer wants to hear – people are now spending more time consuming the opinions of others and media like video and images (including those in your digital ads) than they are sharing thoughts and images of their own. That presents you with a great opportunity to provide relevant, interesting content for these consumers. However, be sure to do it in a way that inspires purpose – the percentage of people utilizing social media for product research has risen as well.
  • The demand for personal responsibility within brands is increasing. As indicated by the disdainful reception of careless political tweets and contrasted with the warm reception of campaigns and efforts to improve the human condition, social media users are more cognizant of your brand’s behavior on social media than ever. It’s always been important to portray your products, services, and brand in a positive light, but now it’s crucial to make sure you aren’t saying more between the lines than you meant to. Smart digital marketers are utilizing social media to display the ways their companies are making the world a better place instead of providing commentary.
  • Social media is entering new sectors. From healthcare and public health to banking and civic responsibility, social media has reached areas of business and society we didn’t think possible back in 2003. If you’re in one of these sectors previously minimally affected by social media, the time to hit snooze on social media is rapidly coming to an end. As financial technology companies endeavor to make banking by Facebook possible, and healthcare providers embark upon social media-based remote screenings, ignoring social media may leave you much further behind the pack than you anticipated.
  • The concept of social media marketing is no longer “it’s nice to have” – It’s essential. For all the reasons listed above – and more – social media marketing has become a crucial tool in every brand’s marketing toolkit. However, it’s just as important to leverage it with care. Make sure you’ve considered your audience, their online habits, and the emotions involved before beginning any social media campaign.



Begin an Informed Social Media Marketing Campaign

Social media marketing is here to stay – but attention to detail is more important than ever. Need help getting started? Vizion Interactive’s digital marketing professionals can provide as much – or as little – guidance as you need. Reach out for more information today.